“Ms. G, can Tre come sit in the office with you a while?”
I looked up the long hallway toward the four-year-old classroom. The daycare I worked at had about two hundred kids, and this sort of request wasn’t at all unusual. I walked back to the room to retrieve Tre.
“So what’s up with Tre?” I asked.
“He fell out,” the teacher stated, frowning down at the little boy.
I gasped. “He fell out of his chair? Is he OK? Did he bump his head?”
The teacher and the child stared at me with matching expressions of confusion.
“Nooo,” she said slowly, giving me a look that clearly indicated she’s thinking I’m the one who’s hit their head. “He fell out.”
The extra emphasis wasn’t helping. I still had no idea what had actually happened, and I was too embarrassed to ask again, so I just nodded.
“Anyway,” she continued, “his mama done told him if he falls out again, she gonna tear up his little behind. So I’m gonna give him a chance to settle.”
“OK, Tre, come on up with me.” I led the way up to the office at the front of the building, and sat the little boy in the chair next to my desk.
A few minutes later, the center’s director came in and stopped at my desk.
“What’s Tre done?”
I kept my eyes on the report I was working on. “Don’t know. His teacher sent him up for a little bit of quiet time.”
“OK, but why?”
I could feel a blush rising up my neck to my cheeks. “She said he fell out.”
My director looked from me to Tre, who shrugged and tried to look innocent, and then back to me.
“You don’t know what that means, do you,” she stated, putting her hands on her hips and cocking her head to one side.
I shook my head, and my blush intensified when she started laughing.
“It means he had a tantrum,” she said, taking little Tre by the hand. “I’ll just take him back to his teacher for you.”
“Thanks,” I mumbled, and put my head in my hands when I clearly heard the both of them laughing as they walked down the hall.
This post is my response to a prompt from Write On Edge to write something on colloquialisms and dialects. This was not the last time I had to have a phrase explained to me, and it was not the last time my confusion gave my co-workers a great deal of entertainment. I can't think of any phrases like that when I was growing up in Wyoming, but after we moved to North Carolina, there were times when I felt like I was trying to learn a new language that sounded like English, but didn't always mean what I thought it meant.
Ha ha! Yes, I would be clueless as well! I had some other ideas going on! Good story!ReplyDelete
Thanks Julia! I've gotten pretty good at figuring out what stuff means by the context...but sometimes there's just no way to tell, and I still get too embarrassed to ask!Delete
I've never heard that phrase, either! I thought it was something to do with him being a boy and um, his pants.... oops. Very cute post.ReplyDelete
See! That would be a good guess too! I've learned all kinds of new phrases since then - showed out, showed his/her tail, snatch her bald (which I'm thinking only works if the "she" is wearing a weave, but I'm not sure about that).Delete
Hmm, that's different. Maybe you should write a post about this crazy NC language, I would like to know more! :)ReplyDelete
You should have been there when I had to ask about Cheerwine - the look on the lady's face when I asked her if it was alcoholic was priceless!Delete
Ok. I've never heard that either. But I kinda like it.ReplyDelete
I think "ret up the table" is about as fancy as we get here.
It's really descriptive, and definitely gets the point across!Delete
So cute! I've never heard it either. And having grown up in Kentucky, I would have thought I'd heard it all....ReplyDelete
The first time I was in Kentucky I heard someone talking about a "tar far." It wasn't until they pointed it out to me that I figured out they were talking about a stack of tires that were on fire. I told them I was just having a little trouble with the accent, and my friends said, "What accent?" LOLDelete
That makes me wonder where it came from. I mean, how does a "tantrum" translate to "fell out"? I wonder if it's loosely linked to "a falling out"?ReplyDelete
And I loved this post. Can't wait to share it with my mom. Maybe she's heard the phrase before...
Either that or it describes the throw-yourself-on-the-floor behavior kids seem to come pre-programmed with!Delete
LOL! Okay I don't know if that's a southern thing or a black thing. I'm both so I knew what it meant. LOL! Didn't know it wasn't common knowledge. I've got tears in the corner of my eyes from laughing. Cute WOE post!ReplyDelete
Had to come back and say, "I'm still laughing." ;-)ReplyDelete
Thanks Kenya! I don't know either! Those ladies had a lot of fun messing with me once they figured out that I seriously didn't know any of the phrases they used all the time.Delete
That's funny. And a perfect example of bringing a moment to life through a focused snapshot.ReplyDelete
I can hear those ladies, and that laughter.
You're a good sport.
I hope you don't mind-- I referenced your blog in my latest post. You taught me a new lesson. Plus, it got my wheels turning! :)ReplyDelete
That's no problem at all - reference away!Delete